Monday, October 09, 2006

30 Days Out: State of the Race

(posted October 9, 2006)

So with 30 days left until Election Day, we thought it was an appropriate time to take stock of where the Lamont-Lieberman race stands.

The barometer most outside observers are relying on are the public polls. The recent Quinnipiac poll, the most credible survey in the state, put Lieberman up 10 points at 49-39 on September 28th. That was almost unchanged from the first Q poll six weeks before.

Other polls, though, have fluctuated wildly. To us, that shows the volatility of this electorate and the limits of using these surveys to make conclusive judgments about the state of the race. We fully expect those polls to move again in the final weeks and for the horse race number to tighten.

At this point, then, we believe it is much more instructive to look at what the various campaigns have been saying and doing over the last several days. What you will find are two dramatically different campaigns moving in two dramatically different directions.

Last week, our campaign continued to highlight Joe Lieberman's record of experience and results for Connecticut; rolled out a series of progressive, practical plans to help ease the middle class squeeze on Connecticut families and renew the American dream; and compared Lieberman's positive agenda with Lamonts campaign of no ideas, no experience, and no ability to get things done the state.

Joe started the week by telling the people of Connecticut about his recent success in passing legislation to speed the cleanup of Long Island Sound.

Then he outlined a series of forward-looking plans to:

* reduce the barriers to homeownership
* lower the cost of health care for small businesses and their employees
* promote cheaper renewable fuels
* reduce our reliance on foreign oil
* make college more affordable and more accessible

Thats five specific ideas to solve problems people care about from Joe Lieberman in one week.

By contrast, the Lamont campaign did not put out one specific policy idea last week new or otherwise.

That should come as no surprise, though. Go to the Lamont campaign website, and you’ll find that since the end of the primary two months ago, the Lamont campaign has released just two policy proposals.

One, his education plan, mostly recycles proposals Joe Lieberman has already introduced in the Senate, and does not appear to include any original ideas.

The other, contained in Lamonts big national security speech, mostly regurgitates planks of the Senate Democrats security agenda. That is, when it was not attacking Joe Lieberman, to which the bulk of his policy speech was dedicated. Either way, no new ideas.

See for yourself on Lamont's official blog, their self-proclaimed window into the campaign. As of this morning, there were about 275 posts since August 8th, and there were actually more entries praising a hatchet job article GQ ran on the primary (6) and personally attacking our staff (4) than there were about specific policy ideas (3).

Its little wonder, then, that the Quinnipiac poll found that Connecticut voters overwhelmingly believe that Lamont is running a negative campaign (62-25). Or that Lamont does not have the right experience to be a U.S. Senator (47-38).

This point was driven home in todays frontpage article in The Hartford Courant under the headline, Lamont Still the Novice.

The piece opens by recounting Neds visit to Watertown High School, where he was pressed by a student to explain how he would change the culture in Washington.

[Lamont] talked about shunning special interests, helping folks who need health care and being an agent for change. None of it was enough for one teenage boy.

"You're here. You're talking," the boy said. "I still don't know what you are going to do."

So how has the Lamont campaign moved to address those negative perceptions and serious vulnerabilities? By doing everything in their power to reinforce them.

Indeed, here is a summary what the Lamont campaign did and said last week:

* Repeatedly made up things to attack Joe Lieberman for on the Foley scandal
* Aired a bizarre new ad accusing Joe Lieberman of scaring voters, which has the states political establishment scratching their heads (and covering their ears)
* Brought in Ted Kennedy to falsely attack Joe Lieberman on Iraq
* Brought in Wes Clark to falsely attack Joe Lieberman on Iraq
* Surrounded himself with a small group of veterans to attack Joe Lieberman on Iraq

In fairness to the Lamont campaign, they do have one positive ad up on the air now. It features Ned making a bunch of vague statements about education to a group of cute children. The closest he comes to an actual idea in there is preschool for every child (something Al Gore and Joe Lieberman proposed in 2000 and which Lieberman has advocated since).

But perhaps the most telling indicator of the Lamont campaigns troubles is the tone of their statements. So far their solution to their dropping poll numbers has been to make even more shrill, desperate, and dishonest attacks on Joe Lieberman.

The best example of that -- the ridiculous, reality-challenged statements Lamont and his campaign made this week about the Foley scandal.

To show just how ridiculous these attacks were, here is a quick accounting of what Lieberman actually said, and what the Lamont campaign pretended he said.

Right after the news broke, Joe Lieberman put out a statement last Sunday condemning Foleys reprehensible behavior, calling for an immediate independent investigation into the House Republican leadership, and declaring that anyone who was found to have ignored or covered up Foleys predatory behavior should be held fully accountable.

Through the course of the week, Lieberman criticized the House Republicans for trying to deflect blame by dredging up past Democratic scandals and for being overly-partisan in responding to the initial concerns about Foleys contacts with pages. He also urged both parties not to exploit this awful incident for partisan political gain.

And he point blank said on several occasions that if the investigation found that Speaker Hastert or any other House leader knew about Foleys predatory behavior and did nothing to stop it, then they should resign -- most recently on Fox 61s Behind the Headlines show that aired today.

Which is to say he took pretty much the same stance as most other leading Democrats in Congress, including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

So in the face of all those public comments, the Lamont campaign tried over and over again this week to attack Joe Lieberman for supposedly defending Speaker Hastert and supposedly criticizing Democrats who called for Hasterts resignation.

[We should note that the Lamont campaign didnt bother to say anything about this national disgrace until three days after Lieberman issued his first statement and until they could use it to attack Joe Lieberman.]

Lamont made their accusations despite the fact that Joe Lieberman did not once criticize any Democrat by name or even by implication. Not even in the one slim quote that the Lamont campaign repeatedly tried to twist to support their manufactured attack.

The Foley case bothers people, he added. If anyone thinks they can make this into another partisan flap, its not. Its very real and human. The House Republican leaders and, frankly, the Democratic leadership, should not make it partisan.

Only the Lamont campaign could turn that statement into something negative.

Judging from this particular attack and other over-the-top distortions and falsehoods that we are seeing from the Lamont campaign these days, they are taking their say anything strategy to a whole other level.

The garden-variety distortions that they got away with in the primary are not working with the general electorate. So out of desperation they are now ramping up to sheer fabrications, in hopes no one will call them on it, and that one of their ugly hail mary passes will bring our numbers down a little.

If it is not already apparent, in time people will see Lamont is running one of the most systematically dishonest campaigns by a prominent candidate in recent American history.

For now, though, one thing is clear their approach is failing to sway the voters they need to win. Even the Lamont campaigns biggest boosters the liberal bloggers are acknowledging that.

In fact, over the last several days, we have noticed that the blog comments in Connecticut and on the big national sites have turned increasingly sour and pessimistic, with many of them openly challenging and criticizing Lamonts post-primary strategy.

Some supporters decry the lack of positive messages and new ideas. Others say the attacks are not vicious enough. One common thread, though, is that the Lamont campaign has made a serious mistake by essentially re-running the primary over the last two months -- and that they will likely fall further behind if they dont change course.

You can find a sampling of these blog comments here [PDF]. Taken together, they suggest Neds people-powered campaign may be petering out.

This helps explain why Ned has been forced to dump another $2.75 million of his own money into the campaign over the last several weeks, on top of the $4 million he put into the campaign during the primary almost all of which is being used to pay for negative attack ads.

[Our campaign, in contrast, has accumulated more than 23,000 small donors in this campaign, and since the primary, has received more than $110,000 in mostly small unsolicited checks from around the country.]

The fact is, while Ned may like to pitch himself as a successful businessman, the broad middle of voters outside his anti-war base clearly are not buying what hes selling. And like a lot Neds friends on the blogs, we have trouble believing that his increasingly shrill and disingenuous attacks will change that fact.

All of which raises the obvious question: how does Ned win?

Posted by: Eric Blankenbaker on 10/8/2006 at 4:42 PM


Blogger gchaucer2 said...

The only thing shrill and disengenuous is this posting.

And, as to Lieberman's "plans," all of that stuff should have been addressed during his last 18 years, not as a political ploy to hold onto his seat. I don't believe for one minute he will follow through.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am rubber you are glue

whatever you say about me

bounces off me

and sticks to you

liarman liarman liarman

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Connecticut ranks 49 out of all 50 states in its ratio of federal tax spent in state versus federal tax dollars sent to Washington. In other words, Connecticut is the second to last state in the country in terms of getting a return on its federal tax dollars, getting just 66 cents of federal spending for every $1 dollar Connecticut taxpayers are paying in to the system. [Source: Tax Foundation, 2004 report. |

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Can anyone help with how to find Mr. Lieberman on the ballots come November? That's what his Friends want to know...(from his campaign:)
("findjoe", indeed.)

As you may have heard, because Joe is running as an independent petitioning candidate, his name will be listed at the bottom of the ballot. For many people, this will truly be a case of a good man being hard to find.

To make sure voters know where to look for Joe on the ballot, we will soon be launching a statewide public awareness campaign, and we will be asking for your help soon to spread the word.

But before we do, we could use your help right now in brainstorming the best message to deliver to voters.

We know there are a lot of smart, creative people among our supporters. So if you have ideas for a catchy slogan or clever ways to educate voters, please send them our way. You can either email them to us at, or call us at 860-244-2006.

11:07 PM  
Blogger CT Bob said...

Oh, I think I've seen a few good suggestions out there in the blogosphere.

"J-Low" is a personal favorite.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Militarytracy said...

As a mother Mr Lieberman let's just set this record completely straight. There isn't anything "partisan" about the Foley scandal. There was a child predator out there and a bunch of folks protected him. They all have (R) after their name and they did what they did to our children in order to protect the power of the (R). These are my kids they have done this to and if you are so stupid and blind to think for one minute that the Democrats are making this a "partisan" issue you are beginning to suffer from senile dementia and you need to retire NOW!

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lamont was not in senate for past 18 years you were dummy.Yyou are a phoney through and through.A Repuglin has been spy and traitor to the Democratic party.Plase fade away to never never land jerk.

12:15 PM  

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